O.J. Murdock, who signed with the NFL's Tennessee Titans last year, killed
himself Monday morning in front of the Tampa, Florida, high school where he was
a track and football star, police said.
Murdock, 25, never played a game in the NFL because
he had been sidelined with an injury since signing as an undrafted player a
"In his brief time here, a number of our
players, coaches and staff had grown close to O.J., and this is a difficult
time for them," the Titans said in a statement. "He spent the last
year battling back from an Achilles injury as he prepared for this year's
NFL launches help line for current, former players
Titans head coach Mike Munchak, in his daily
briefing with reporters Saturday, was asked why Murdock, a wide receiver, had
not reported to training camp.
"He had some personal things come up,"
Munchak said. "He called us, and we're hoping to see him tonight."
Murdock was placed on the "did not report"
list over the weekend, but he was still on the roster, team spokesman Robbie
Bohren said Monday.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family
and friends as they try to cope with this tragedy," the team statement
A Tampa police officer found Murdock "in his
car in front of Middleton High School with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot
wound" at 8:30 a.m. Monday, a police statement said.
He died two hours later at Tampa General Hospital,
Murdock was ranked among the top football players in
Florida and the nation in 2005 when he was a senior at Middleton High School,
according to his biography on the Titans website. He was also a star sprinter
on his school's track team.
His college career started at the University of
South Carolina, but he transferred to Fort Hays State after playing in just
four games as a freshman and being redshirted. He then moved to Pearl River Community
College, where he was a criminal justice major.